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Friday, February 27, 2009

Unfinished Review: Portrait of a Lady

Author: Henry James
Genre: Fiction, Classic, Victorian

Henry James's magnificent heroine, a "young woman affronting her destiny"

When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy Aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. She then finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond, who, beneath his veneer of charm and cultivation, is cruelty itself. A story of intense poignancy, Isabel's tale of love and betrayal still resonates with modern audiences.

My Thoughts:

This is the third time I tried to read this book. I did get farther this time 113 of 544 total. I just could not get into it. My mind was wandering as I read the pages. I understand the writing style was to have a long single paragraphs, sometimes almost one per page, but visually, I need to see shorter paragraphs or breaks in my reading.

The character development took too long for me. I also had to think constantly while I was reading, and re-reading lines to make sure I understood what was being written. In, short, It was too much work for my mind.

I read to escape daily life and for entertainment purposes. With this book, I felt like I had to work to finish one page, therefore I could not go on any further. I have a rule: If by 50 pages I am not interested in the book, I set it aside for something else. It may be a little more than 50 for some books, it depends, but generally it's about 50 pages.

This also occurred for me when I tried James' other masterpiece The Turn of the Screw. Again, couldn't finish it.

I'm sure James is a great author, unfortunately he is just not for me.
This book was originally part of my Victorian Challenge, so I will replace it with something else.

{Cross posted on Victorian Challenge}


The Bookworm said...

sorry you couldnt finish it. I know what you mean, if I need to go back and re read lines, I dont enjoy the book, it is like work.

Amy said...

you sound like me:) i can never finish classics, though i did manage to get through pride and prejudice. i was very proud(no pun intended) of myself;)

Toni said...

I started this one years ago. I need to give it another shot. I have a pretty hard bound copy and well it just sounds like it should be good. I say put it away for a while and maybe someday you will read.. and then again.. maybe not. :) You sure get a big gold star and A for effort girl!!!!

Jenny Girl said...

Amy: For me it must depend on the classic. Some I absolutley adore, others I just shake my head, not getting it. P&P is my favorite, and I re read it every so many years.

Toni: ha-ha Thanks for the gold star sweetie!

Ladytink_534 said...

"Too much work for my mind", <-- ugh, don't you hate that?! When I start having a lot of trouble with a book then I tend to either get the audiobook or I put it aside. I've never read this one but I remember seeing at least a little of the movie adaptation with Nicole Kidman in it.

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